|Paying for the hangman's rope|
But there is some good news here. That being we can deny Metro over $90 billion dollars and in the process likely stop their tunnel scheme dead in its tracks. How? By voting "NO" on Measure J.
In an excellent "LA Watchdog" article on the CityWatch news site (click here), columnist Jack Humphreville lays a few things down in a piece titled, "Do You Trust the Gang at Metro to Manage Another 90 Billion of Your Dollars? Say No to the Measure J Slush Fund."
LA WATCHDOG - “Would it be a good idea to see how Metro handles the first $40 billion of sales tax revenue before we give them an additional $90 billion?”
You bet it is. This is reason enough to vote NO on Measure J, the November ballot measure that proposes to extend the life of the “one-half cent traffic relief sales tax” for an additional thirty years to 2069.
If passed by two-thirds of the voters, this extension would provide the politically controlled Metropolitan Transit Authority (“Metro”) with an additional $90 billion, resulting in a 60 year total of $130 billion.
While we have questioned Metro’s management capability and organizational resources to control so many complex, capital intensive highway and mass transit construction projects that will burden our grandchildren with tens and tens of billions in debt and interest payments, we have not focused on the allocation of 40% of these sales tax revenues dedicated to finance the massive operating losses of the Metro’s bus and train operations and to fund the “Local Return Improvement” program.
The article goes on to state that sales tax money already given to Metro through Measure R remains unaccounted for under its "Local Return Improvement" program. This money being difficult to trace, and with certain key portions of it functioning as a kind of slush fund.
Me? I just want to starve the Metro beast so they can't build the 710 Tunnel. And yes, I do know there has been some debate over whether Measure J money could legally be used for 710 Tunnel purposes, and therefore not be as much of a factor here as claimed. I myself question that, and ask you to consider the source. Besides, why take the chance and find out otherwise later?
After all of the disreputable nonsense we have heard from Metro on the 710 Tunnel, do you really trust anything coming out of that quarter?
By voting "No" on Measure J you will be putting yourself in a win-win position. You will help to stop the tunnel while also giving yourself a tax break. This cannot be too difficult a choice.
Can Measure J Be Defeated?
According to an article on the LA Weekly's blog earlier this week, the matter is very (very) close. The post is called, "Measure J: Transit Tax Extension Holds Narrow Margin In Internal Poll, But Needs More Campaign Cash to Win" (click here). This is the gist of it:
A county sales tax measure to accelerate transportation projects has slightly more than the two-thirds level of support required for passage, according to internal polling from the Yes campaign.
Measure J is leading 68-22, according the poll. However, the pollster warns that after voters hear positive and negative messages about the half-cent sales tax extension, the margin narrows to 67-27 -- putting it on the cusp of defeat.
Measure J is an extension of Measure R, the half-cent sales tax measure voters narrowly approved in 2008. Measure R is set to expire in 2039. Measure J would extend the tax for an extra 30 years. That would allow the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to borrow more money now to accelerate projects already funded under Measure R.
Opponents, including Supervisors Don Knabe and Michael Antonovich, argue that the jobs figure is exaggerated. They point out that Measure J won't create any jobs that would not already be created under Measure R. A ballot argument against the measure, signed by the two supervisors, calls it "a blank check that our kids and grandkids will pay for the next 60 years."
Let's just beat the damn thing.
Has Elaine Aguilar Already Declared the "Green Committee" a Commission?
A new City Manager's Report is now available on the City of Sierra Madre website (click ye here), and there are some of the usual revelations for us blog types to revel in. One is that there are now 41 law concerns looking to get in on our RFP action. I can only imagine how intense the bidding will get once all 41 of these lawyerly organizations begin their fight to win the highly lucrative City of Sierra Madre account. Who knows, maybe they'll be paying us for the honor of serving the Foothill Village. God bless them all. Except for one, of course.
But there is also something that is a bit troublesome here. Can it be that the fix is in, and the Green Committee is already a Commission? And if so, how exactly did City Hall circumvent the usually necessary City Council vote on this matter?
Here is how the two mentions of the Green Whatever read in the upcoming City Council meeting agendas portion of this report. First this from the agenda items listed for the October 23rd meeting:
23-Oct Discussion: Green Advisory Committee to Commission (continued from 8/14 meeting)
And then there is this agenda item listed for the meeting on November 13th:
13-Nov Discussion: Green Advisory Commission Accords
Now I know that City Hall is just doing cartwheels to begin work on the high density so-called Transit Village development projects called for by the Green Committee and its Sacramento, Washington and UN overlords, but declaring it to be a "commission" before the City Council has even cast a vote on the matter?
Seems a bit jumped up and presumptuous to me.